National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India's main role is to promote and protect human rights. Human rights are defined as "rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants and enforceable by courts in India."

The President based on recommendations made by the Prime Minister and a select committee appoints members of NHRC. The term of an NHRC member is 5 years, or until they turn 70 years old, whichever is earlier. An NHRC member can only be removed from their office if a Supreme Court judge's investigation on the matter concludes the members misbehavior or incapacity. The NHRC consists of 5 members:

  • A Chairperson, who has been the Chief Justice of India
  • One member who is, or has been, a judge of the Supreme Court of India,
  • One member who is, or has been, a judge or Chief Justice of a High Court
  • Two Members, out of which at least one shall be a woman. These members must have the knowledge or practical experience of working in matters relating to human rights

Following is list of a few of NHRC's powers and functions:

  • It can suo moto (without a prior motion) investigate matters linked to the violation of human rights.
  • It has the right to participate in judicial proceedings for cases that allege a violation of human rights.
  • It has the authority to go and observe prisoners' living conditions in any jail or government facility and recommend necessary changes.
  • It has the power to recommend remedial steps to the safeguards provided by the Constitution.
  • It conducts research related to human rights.
  • It spreads awareness on human rights to various sections of society and promotes awareness of the safeguards available for the protection of these rights.